1 Jan, 2023 @ 14:15
1 min read

Spain’s government strips notorious police torturer of medals 


THE SPANISH government has ordered all of the medals and other decorations received by Franco-era police officers to be revised, including those of the notorious torturer known as ‘Billy the Kid’. 

According to the Interior Ministry, the move has been made by minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska in line with the Democratic Memory Law, which came into force in October and is aimed at providing victims of the Spanish Civil War and dictatorship of General Francisco Franco with further redress. 

Police sources told Spanish news agency EFE that so far at least seven cases have been identified, four relating to civil guard officers and three from the National Police force. 

Among these is former inspector Juan Antonio González Pacheco, known as ‘Billy the Kid’ for his habit of spinning his firearm on his finger. He was a notorious torturer of political activists during the late 1960s and early 1970s. 

González Pacheco, who died in May 2020 after contracting the coronavirus, received five decorations for his service, and as a result enjoyed a 50% increase of his police pension. 

As well as revising the medals and decorations awarded to Franco-era officers, the Interior Ministry will also be examining and removing symbols from the regime that remain in buildings that are either used or depend on the ministry itself. 

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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